Tonight is “welcome back” night at MSG.
The Rangers will play take on Montreal in their first home game of the season — yes, 28 days into the year — and they’ll be doing it with a familiar face in goal, as Henrik Lundqvist will start for the first time in nearly 10 days.
Lundqvist, 31, has missed the last two games with a lower-body ailment, forcing rookie Cam Talbot to tend goal. Talbot fared well, posting a 1-1-0 record with a 1.94 GAA and .934 save percentage, but New York will be keen to get its franchise netminder back into the fold, especially with all its other high-priced talent currently out with injuries.
Captain Ryan Callahan (broken thumb) is still about two weeks away from returning, Carl Hagelin (shoulder) has resumed practicing while Rick Nash (concussion) hasn’t returned to the ice yet.
As for finally getting home ice after a nine-game roadie to start the year — well, the Rangers can look forward to plenty more of it over the following weeks.
Tonight marks a stretch in which New York will play nine of 12 at home, with its load road contests being quick jaunts to Long Island, Columbus and Montreal. The Rangers will also get a chance to gun for wins over teams with losing records: Buffalo (Oct. 31), Columbus (Nov. 7), Florida (Nov. 10) and New Jersey (Nov. 12).